There’s Snail In Them Thar Hills


Yeah, I know… I know. The east side of the country is digging out from massive amounts of snow dropped  by the latest monster winter storm, so this outdoor encounter doesn’t hold a 1000th of a drop of candlewax, but since fleeting hail is about the only organic frozen stuff I ever get rare occasion to encounter around these here Southern California parts, you’ll have to pardon me being fascinated with this singular patch of what’s called “graupel” I found below this magnificently mossy north-facing rock while about 2,400 feet up in the Verdugos between the Brand and Whiting Woods motorways as part of my latest Glendale Trail Safety Patrol yesterday.

Graupel (graw-pull) is the ungainly and term that seems to be just about the last thing meteorologist types would call the stage of precipitation that basically exists between hail and snow. I prefer to refer to the mixture via a mash-up of the words snow and hail to make “snail.”

Regardless of what it’s called, the one thing that can hopefully be agreed upon is that it was freakin’ cold enough up there at such a relatively low elevation to produce this stuff. I know that at the end of the patrol my nearly frost-bitten fingers wouldn’t argue that in the slightest.